‘Absolute ambush’: Man who shot Fargo officers had 1,800 rounds of ammo, weapons in car

FARGO, N.D. — A man who shot three North Dakota police officers -- one fatally -- last week was carrying 1,800 rounds of ammunition, several weapons and a live grenade in his vehicle, authorities said Wednesday.

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Mohamad Barakat, 37, opened fire at the Fargo police officers, who were responding to a “routine traffic stop” on Friday, KVLY-TV reported.

Barakat was fatally shot by Officer Zachary Robinson, 31, according to the Grand Forks Herald. Officer Jake Wallin, 23, was killed, while officers Andrew Dotas, 28, and Tyler Hawes, 22, were critically injured, the newspaper reported.

At a news conference on Wednesday, North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley said Barakat’s vehicle was “loaded” with 1,800 rounds of ammunition, three long rifles, four handguns, canisters of gasoline, a vest with loaded magazines in every pocket and a live homemade hand grenade, KVLY reported.

Wrigley, who called the shooting a “savage attack,” said Barakat had a suitcase full of weapons in his vehicle, which he rolled out of his Fargo apartment shortly before the shooting.

“It’s clear to me that this person was out to kill,” Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said at the news conference. “When you look at the amount of ammunition this shooter had in his car, he was planning on more mayhem in our community.”

Wrigley said all evidence has been reviewed, including Robinson’s body camera footage, KVLY reported.

“(Robinson) was the last man standing, last man standing between what’s coming next,” Wrigley told reporters.

“If Zach hadn’t neutralized this shooter, there would have been more loss of lives,” Mahoney added.

Wrigley said that Barakat initially opened fire with a long rifle and then armed himself with a 9 mm handgun, according to The Associated Press.

“He’s casing the place up and stalking his way in and sizing up his opportunity and then parks there and spends minutes watching the officers and waits until they are literally walking,” Wrigley told reporters. “That’s when he lifts his firearm out the window and begins firing. It was an absolute ambush. There’s no other way to describe that.”

In a video message released Wednesday, Fargo police Chief Dave Zibolski said Wallin was cremated in his Fargo police uniform, WDAY-TV reported.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, according to the television station.

“It’s very hard,” Mahoney told the Herald about the shooting. “It’s a horrible event. I’d like to know why.”